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Full-Scale Mercury Sampling and Analysis

HG Plants Sampled by EERC

Mobile Laboratory

The EERC has two fully equipped trailers that are used for sampling activities at numerous power plants. These trailers house all of the equipment necessary to perform a number of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methods, including Methods 5 and 17 for particulate sampling. This includes sampling boxes, probes, weighing scales, filters, filter holders, and any railings that may be necessary. However, what makes EERC capabilities unique is the ability to do mercury sampling and analysis in the field. In doing so, the EERC maintains an exceptionally high level of quality control and quality assurance.

Field Analysis

Because the mercury blank and spike results are obtained in the field (usually within 4–6 hours), any problems can be corrected immediately. If the samples are sent to a laboratory for analyses, the results are not known until after the sampling team has left the facility. To do the mercury analysis in the field, the EERC trailer is equipped with a Leeman cold-vapor atomic adsorption spectrophotometer and a DMA-80 analyzer (Milestone, Inc). The DMA-80 allows the EERC to do coal and ash mercury analysis in the field. This technique was recently validated as EPA Method 7473, entitled "Mercury in Solids and Solutions by Thermal Decomposition, Amalgamation, and Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry."

In addition to the equipment necessary to do mercury wet-chemistry sampling procedures, the EERC also has several different types of continuous mercury monitors (CMMs):


The EERC has used these monitors successfully to directly measure stack emissions in all of the field sampling done for the past 3 years.